It’s been a busy two days zipping around Montreal and I could go on for pages and pages, but time is short. We’re at the Montreal South KOA right now, which is about 20 KM South (duh) of the city, on the way to New York state, which is about 40 KM further down the road. The community here is called Cancida, or something like that, and is quite rural and quiet.
After leaving the Best Western on Wednesday morning, we headed down to the “Old Seaport” (I hope I got my translation correct), and took a 1 1/2 hour tour on one of those narrated half-bus half-boat things, which was quite fun. While waiting for it to depart, we rented a quadriycle (see picture above) for an hour, including watching the Lachine locks operate, which was very reminiscent of the Lily Langtry canal trip in the UK which only about 5 people in the planet will know what I am talking about (though these days they are all electrically operated and don’t look near as much fun).
After the bus-boat and descriptions of various Montreal landmarks, we headed up to Laval, picked up the RV, and then back to the KOA (which, unfortunately, are more or less at opposite ends of the city). We had some difficulties finding the RV place, as apparently in Montreal they reuse addresses with abandon so when someone tells you “198 Rue de la Creme Brulee”, you have to carefully qualify it with which city they mean as there are multiple 198’s… well anyway.
Today, Thursday, we were supposed to go on a whitewater rafting trip but awoke to light but persistent rain. So instead we headed to the Biodome / Olympic Park, which are conveniently colocated. I had been humming and hawwing about whether to bother with this, but the rain decided for us and I’m glad we went, it was great. We did a 1/2 hour tour of the Olympic stadium and took the cable car to the top, which Sam in particular really liked.
Lastly, on the way home, we stopped at Mount Royal: to look off the observatory, which was nice but not much different than the Olympic tower, and to look around the cemetery, which was, well, actually quite fun. I have been there before, but I must say, that is one gigantic cemetery and it was interesting to see how gigantic and tacky (not necessarily together) some people’s headstones are.
I wish I could write more but here are a few random impressions of Montreal, and by the way yes I have been here a few times before. First and foremost, it is beautiful. Trees everywhere, lots of water, and nice buildings all over. Of particular note is how Montreal has almost zero overhead wires (even on non-main streets) which come to think of it may be more of a peculiarity of Vancouver having them than Montreal not. Naturally the whole place is steeped in history (buildings that look 10x older than our Marine Building, all over, statues, etc.), Clearly there is 100x more to do here than we can ever possibly do in two and a bit days.
Other comments. Indeed there is a lot of French here but everyone seems very friendly and accomodating of non-French dorks like us; even the French-only checkout lady at the Provigo today where we stopped for supplies (and who was trying to ask us something about delivery which we later figured must have something to do with Montreal’s not allowing shopping carts more than 10′ away from the front entrance, how the hell do you get $300 worth of groceries to your vehicle, but I digress). This may of course have something to do that when on holiday we are basically walking ATM machines shooting out $20 bills at the least provocation.
The freeway traffic here has been fairly heavy and there are bridges everywhere (we counted 14 but surely missed some, I wonder if Vancouver has more?) but all in all it has been easy getting around. Oh – note to self – rant about GPS’s when I get a chance.
Tomorrow we are going to try rafting again, hopefully drop in at Notre Dame (which, to my horror, our tour guide was quick to point out was where Celine Dion and her child-molester husband got married), possibly rent bikes from the delightfully named “Ca Roule”, then head East to Quebec City and the easternmost extreme of our Canadian adventure.